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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jan 7, 2009 10:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Legally speaking....

Zep, Dead Drop Lawsuit Over Concert Footage

By Craig Anderson
Daily Journal Staff Writer
SAN JOSE - For two years, attorneys for rock superstars Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead waged a legal war against a Minnesota entrepreneur who bought old memorabilia and concert footage from the estate of promoter Bill Graham.

Last week, both sides gave up the fight.

In a three-page court filing, attorneys for the bands and music companies on one side, and memorabilia-hawking Web site Wolfgang's Vault on the other, filed a stipulation dropping the remaining claims and counterclaims against each other. Grateful Dead Productions v. Sagan, 06-CV7727 (N.D. Cal, filed 2006).

The lawsuits were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the bands can revive legal claims over whether the Web site's use of streaming video of old Zeppelin and Dead concerts infringe on their copyright. More likely, the parties have struck some sort of deal.

Lawyers for each side, who spent a lot of time in the past firing verbal attacks and squabbling over discovery, have stopped talking to reporters. Ashlie Beringer, a Denver-based partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who represents the bands, declined to comment about the lawsuit's dismissal.

Michael Elkin, a New York-based partner with Winston & Strawn who represents Wolfgang's Vault owner William E. Sagan and declined to comment on the case last month, could not be reached.

The concert footage in question, including 1969 Led Zeppelin shows and multiple performances by the Grateful Dead, remain available on the Wolfgang's Vault site, suggesting the parties may have reached some sort of financial agreement over their continued use.

Sagan acquired the memorabilia from the estate of Graham, a legendary Bay Area concert promoter who died in a helicopter crash in 1991.

The case, which once featured a libel claim by Sagan against Grateful Dead member Bob Weir, has gotten a lot more sedate during the past year as the parties met in mediation. All of the bands' infringement claims over the sale of old memorabilia were dropped in October, as was the claim against Weir.

Attorneys who had followed the case have said they were not surprised that it would settle, given the amount of money it was taking the two high-powered law firms to litigate it and the likely weakness of the trademark infringement claims over the memorabilia sales.

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin, plaintiff Carlos Santana, two members of onetime plaintiffs The Doors and several music company executives were deposed in the lawsuit.

Last month, Michael Sherman - the Los Angeles-based chairman of the entertainment group at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro - said the case may have turned on Graham's agreements with the bands on what would happen to concert videos and promotional "swag" - T-shirts, mugs, posters and the like.

Sherman said then he was not surprised the two sides would ultimately decide to pursue a business deal instead of continuing to pursue the lawsuit.

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jan 7, 2009 10:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Legally speaking....

Thanks for this. Very interesting. I didn't even know they had video at Wolfgang's. Now I gotta go find it ...

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Poster: patkelleyPA Date: Jan 7, 2009 10:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Legally speaking....

I had, for some reason, thought that the GD were somehow in support of or involved with Wolfgang's. Ummm, apparently not.

How does one get to be an attorney for the Grateful Dead? Talk about my dream job. I hereby offer my services to them at a small percentage of my normal hourly rate.

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Poster: SkyDawg Date: Jan 7, 2009 7:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Legally speaking....

The Grateful Dead (among others) led the fight AGAINST Wolfgang's Vault, and tried to get it shut down a few years ago for allowing their shows to be streamed and Grateful Dead memorabilia to be sold there. Others who joined the lawsuit were Santana's reps and reps for Led Zeppelin. I'm sure there were more. No, they were not cool with it.

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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Jan 7, 2009 12:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Legally speaking....

Good luck with that, Pat.

On the subject of GD attorneys, your question brought to mind, Hal Kant, who died in October last year. From the little I've been able to research, he seems to have been a very interesting person, who must have had a few stories to tell of his time with the GD.

Here are a couple of articles if you're interested.

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Poster: wonsing Date: Jan 7, 2009 11:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Legally speaking....

Graham Video'd ever show at winterland. 2 camera posts and 1 or 2 mobiles on stages and upstair. Believe it was in the contract.

Next step is to find out how that dude in Chicago got it.

Auction ?

This post was modified by wonsing on 2009-01-07 19:06:32